St. Pete’s next police chief

Goliath2

BY GOLIATH J. DAVIS, III, PhD.

Mayor Rick Kriseman recently announced the final four candidates for the vacant police chief position in the City of St. Petersburg.  Many were surprised the most qualified individual in the department, Assistant Chief Luke Williams, did not make the final four.

I am constantly questioned by individuals from all corners of the city regarding the decision.  Many cannot believe the assistant chief in charge of operations with 13 years or more of operational experience has been eliminated.  The buzz continues and I think it is time for me to speak publicly and share with the community what I have shared privately with Mayor Kriseman and his administration.

My position prior to the mayor’s announcement has not changed. The City of St. Petersburg needs an “outside chief.” I have shared my view at a CONA (Council of Neighborhood Associations) leadership seminar and with others throughout the entire city.  The police chief appointment and the budget/finance director are the two most important selections any mayor will make.

The police chief in St. Petersburg occupies a very large stage and given the current state of affairs within the department, there is not a candidate in house capable of providing the stability and direction needed to “right the ship” and move the department and ultimately the city forward.  An internal candidate ensures instability and discord.

Regrettably, the internal power struggles and issues previously addressed and controlled were refueled under the prior administration and continue to disrupt the department and the community.  The Kriseman administration should recognize one important fact—they did not create the current situation but the opportunity to own the solution is ever present and awaits their responsible intervention and leadership.

The remaining internal candidate continues to launch an aggressive campaign for the position.  It began when the previous mayor made it known he wanted to appoint the first openly gay police chief and took advantage of Assistant Chief Cedric Gordon’s unfortunate situation to promote Melanie Bevan while Gordon was on bereavement leave.  Members of the department found themselves in the awkward position of reporting to two assistant chiefs.

I am acutely aware of the attributes of both Williams and Bevan given they both worked for me in my capacity as deputy chief, assistant chief, chief and deputy mayor.  I made significant professional and personal sacrifices to instill the tenets Respect, Accountability and Integrity at St. Petersburg Police Department.

It saddens me to admit we have lost ground.  An appropriately selected outside chief void all of the internal and external alliances offer the best opportunity to address historical cultural issues and other impediments to professionalism, public safety and community service.

Both Williams and Bevan contributed to the current state of affairs in the organization and the community and neither should benefit based on community campaigns and popularity contests.  The position and the issues we face are too important to continue the power struggle.

In the event Mayor Kriseman is unable to find a suitable chief among the three external candidates, I recommend he declare a failed search and start over with a search firm capable of recruiting a diverse candidate pool of first class applicants.

St. Pete’s next police chief should be a carefully selected outside candidate capable of providing the much needed departmental and community stability, public safety, professionalism and fair and impartial community service.

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8 thoughts on “St. Pete’s next police chief

  1. BW

    I’m sorry, didn’t you get fired? Enough race baiting Davis. Stop implying the existence of a “community.”

    Have you noticed that only impoverished areas with large minority populations are referred to as a “community?” To imply that there is a shared identity based solely on proximate zip code and skin color is an asinine and extremely racist on it’s face. People should be VERY suspicious of people like Davis who claim to represent them because if you look hard enough they are usually only representing themselves.

    Davis did nothing more than turn the police department into a failed sociology experiment and taint the badge. The problems he speaks of in the department are residual effects of his pro-criminal ideology. He attended the funeral of a cop killer but not the funeral for the officers. That is enough to completely discredit this heretic.

    The destruction that Davis left on the department is still being cleaned up and has had an extremely detrimental effect on the agency and the city. Goliath Davis go back into the seedy shadows you are so adept to operating in because you have absolutely no business speaking on these matters.

    Reply
  2. Funny

    Goliath Davis, you sir are a fraud and a racist. You have no idea what it means to be a professional. No one cares what you think.

    Reply
  3. Christina Tapinard

    Interesting article from a man who attended a cop killers funeral rather than the two murdered officers. Also, didn’t Davis make several promotions based solely on race. Interestingly enough, these same individuals were just involved in the underhanded race – based meeting that and promotional cheating scandal thar undermined Kriseman’s authority. Interesting indeed from a man who does not even reside in St Petersburg.

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  4. TruthHurts

    Williams should have never made it to an Asst Chief spot. The city needs a police department that can break the back of the growing southside monster.

    Don’t you have any cop killers’ funerals to attend?

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  5. Christian Haas

    Statements like, ‘An internal candidate ensures instability and discord.’ diminishes your credibility, Mr. Davis. How can you be sure the only candidate with an intimate understanding of our community, its history, challenges, and opportunities will ‘ensure instability’? You may not be personally in favor of the only local candidate left, but that doesn’t give you the right to make blanket generalizations.

    Other than saying Williams and Bevan contributed to the current state of affairs, you provide no concrete examples explaining why Assistant Chief Bevan will lead to ‘instability and discord’. I’ve agreed with many of your assertions and positions in the past, but this one seems short sighted and inconsistent with the new direction of our city. Let us keep St. Pete local.

    Reply
  6. Bob Peters

    Mr Davis,
    I beg to differ on your account that personnel had to report to 2 different Assistant Chiefs when Bevan was promoted while Gordon was still on the job. He was not on the job, that is the whole reason why Bevan was promoted. Mike McDonald was running the show and too many people within the department did not like that. (He had basically been running the Admin division since Gordon was promoted but it looked bad having a civilian running the show). Gordon came in for photo ops and that was basically it. He was useless after his daughter was killed and should have retired then, not a year later. He did not and basically bilked the city for a year worth of work with the help of Chuck Harmon, who allowed him not to come to work. Yes it was awful what happened but move on, a lot of other people have. You, Mr Davis, got to where you did because you were able to undermine a police chief hired from outside the city. You, along with you friend Don McRea, fired said chief for being a supposed racist. Without him being fired, you would not have risen to the level of power that you did. Thank goodness that the majority of people you have placed into power have or will be retiring very soon. The people that were promoted under Chief Harmon did not have to play your games as much. Some of them did not get sucked into your ideals and could see past the lies that they are. Your protege did not get moved on because he caused too much trouble that the mayor saw directly through. Ten years ago, he could have gotten away with it, now, everyone sees its a dumbass stunt. Get over yourself Mr Davis.

    Reply
    • Kurt Donley

      Wow, the Ghost of Curtsinger still haunts us. How many Leroy jokes do you have to make to before you go from supposed racist to being an actual racist? How about characterizing sensitivity training as white bashing?

      Reply

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